Branwallader or Brelade

Feast day: January 19

Branwallader is a Saint of the 6th century, feast day (in Jersey) of January 19th. He is also known as Branwalader, Branwalator, Brelade, Breward. It is likely that the name “St. Brelade” is a corruption of “St. Branwallader”.

In Cornwall he has feast days on February 9 and June 6; January 19 may be the day of the translation of his relics. Branwallader was a Celtic or Welsh monk, who is said to have been a Bishop in Jersey, although at the time, Jersey would have been part of the ancient diocese of Dol. As with many of the early saints of this part of the world, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.

However, it is believed that Branwallader worked with Saint Samson in Cornwall and the Channel Islands, where he is remembered at Jersey in the Parish name St Brelade and at Cornwall in the Parish name of St. Breward. He may also have travelled with Samson to Brittany in northern France.

In the Exeter martyrology, Branwallader is described a the son of the Cornish king, Kenen.

King Athelstan, who founded Milton Abbey in Dorset, obtained some of the saint’s relics (an arm or head) from Breton clerics fleeing Northmen and moved them to Milton Abbey in 935. William Worcestre claimed that the body itself was at Branston (or Branscombe) in Devon, and Leland referred to a chapel of Saint Breward near Seaton. The proper name of Milton Abbey is the Abbey Church of St. Mary, St. Samson and St. Branwalader.

The cultus of Saint Branwallader has been strong at least from the 10th century, when his name could be found in litanies. His feast was kept at Winchester, Exeter, and Cornwall. In Brittany, he has sometimes been confused with Saint Brendan and Saint Brannock (Benedictines, Farmer).